United Way agencies in Valley merit support to improve lives

Earlier this month, more than 400 community volunteers rolled up their sleeves to paint, build, landscape, clean, polish and upgrade some 30 community- service and nonprofit agencies throughout the region.

Collectively, their diligent and dedicated work made the 16th annual Day of Caring of the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley a rousing success. Truth be told, however, every day is a day of caring for United Way. The agency provides lifeblood funding and support for a network of critically needed helping agencies throughout the Mahoning Valley 24/7 and 365 days a year.

That’s worth remembering as the UW of Youngstown and the United Way of Trumbull County both embark on their 2013 fund- raising campaigns.

The Youngstown-based agency has set a goal of $2.5 million, the same as that reached and exceeded in 2012. The Trumbull agency has set a goal of $845,000, which represents a 5 percent increase over its total raised in 2012.


The two agencies, part of the network of 1,400 United Way agencies in 41 countries and territories around the world, aim high in their goal-setting. And why shouldn’t they? Despite the lingering economic malaise from the Great Recession, individuals and companies in Mahoning and Trumbull counties routinely open their hearts and their pocketbooks to ensure success.

That success, in turn, ensures that more than 50 nonprofit groups can continue to provide vital health, nutrition, income, education and other services to the tens of thousands of Valley residents who rely on them heavily, some for sheer survival.

United Way of Youngstown, for example, supports such divergent agencies as the Sojourner House for battered spouses, Boys and Girls Club, Neil Kennedy Recovery Clinic, Second Harvest Food Bank, the Family Service Agency, American Red Cross, Goodwill Industries, the Salvation Army, Help Hotline, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, the YMCA, the YWCA and many others. All provide vital and well documented community services. Without UW, some would struggle to keep their doors open.


The ongoing need of these agencies provides one compelling reason to support the 2013 campaigns. In addition, gifts to UW, as its leaders argue, represent giving that does the most good. Individual contributions to UW are combined with thousands of others, magnifying their power and impact.

In addition, donors are guaranteed that their giving stays in the community and is put to work where it is most needed. UW workers regularly monitor the quality of service and programs of local agencies for effectiveness and efficiency. In short, UW ensures accountability for the hard-earned dollars that generous members of our community provide.

If those aren’t good enough reasons, the two Valley UW agencies also offer a variety of incentives to support. Donors, for example, can win a 2014 Chevrolet diesel Cruze, courtesy of Greenwood Chevrolet. A variety of other prizes are available as well.

Of course, the vast majority of UW supporters need no monetary or prize incentives to motivate them to give. Doing their one small part toward empowering and enriching their community provides all the incentive they need.

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